Monday, August 28, 2006


How’s everyone? I hope you’ve all had a great weekend.
Let me begin with a shoutout to a good friend from Cebu, Yvette, who just delivered a boy last August 17. A 9.4 pounder, did you say? Imagine carrying that weight around for something like 3-4 / 9 months. Wow!

Here’s another shoutout to Mike of the Mango Farm. He’s been complaining lately about his “cook” serving him nothing but nilaga (pork with cabbage and potatoes) for over a month now. Last night, he was asking for tips on how to gently say, “You are sooo fired!” My co-editor, Mahrose, suggested he take tips from Viva films where the amo knows exactly what to do (insert clips here of Sharon Cuneta – Pasan Ko Ang Daigdig, remember?) No, I don’t want to enumerate them here because I have a high regard for kasambahays. It’s still a job, after all.
So much has been said about losing Pluto to the asteroids. The fact that we used to hold dear – that Pluto is part of our solar system – has now crossed into the realm of fiction. How many more facts will become fiction in our lifetime?
Mom’s finally graduating from her SPED class. I hope she had fun even if the classes are only held on weekends. She’d be doing practicum starting September by tutoring special children. After that, she’d be doing a bit of work again with her former office but only limited to Samar. I bet she’s excited to travel again as she hasn’t done so since January, when she got sick again.
I attended the recent OTOP (One Town One Product Philippines) held last weekend in Megamall’s Megatrade Hall. Featured were products from Northern Luzon. Needless to say, I was dead bored with the whole thing. There weren’t enough exciting products worth exporting. What’s new with cornick, jams, and basket weaves anyway? We’ve been doing cottage industries for decades! It’s so 30 years ago. The furniture weren’t as exciting as those made in Cebu. I ended up buying several place mats made of weaved bamboo skin (I just had to give in) to replace the banig ones bought from Samar last year, and two packs of frankfurters (with cheese) and Hungarian sausages. Also, I ordered a barong tagalog made of “piña cocoon” from this Laguna-based shop. It will be mailed to me in two weeks. They call it piña cocoon because the texture is similar to the piña fabric, which is rough to the touch, but it actually uses silk threads made by silkworms, a relatively new industry in the Philippines so the cost is just ¼ of the real thing. Not bad. I can't wait to see the final product.
The hottest topic in the workplace these days is about opening dollar accounts to take advantage of the buying price while it is still cheap. I read in Inq7 Money that DBS of Singapore thinks it will test the waters at PHP 50 later this year until early next year because of the expected surge in remittances. Sounds like good news to some but definitely not to OFW families.
By the way, I have an impending meeting (sounds like a doomsday scenario) with Ruby of When Excrement Hits the Ventilation, and I am utterly horrified at the prospect of meeting a co-blogger since I always have had a fear of EBs. The only co-blogger I’ve seen was Carlos Celdran of Walk This Way; although i didn’t muster enough courage to say hi. It doesn’t help too that Ruby’s reputation precedes her. To begin with, I wouldn’t wish to be flagging the same cab as her for fear of having to be humiliated infront of the cab driver (she can have it). What to do, what to do, what to do? Bahala na si Batman! Will email you ASAP, Ruby! :-)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


What a sad day for Philippine commentary. The blogsphere is full of hate these days. You can witness all the mudslinging here, here, and here (Note: will provide the links tomorrow). Just reading the banters can give you a headache.

I want to blame Isagani Cruz’s (URL) article for this but I wouldn’t. I believe that some ideas and beliefs, no matter how vile or sick they are, will just live as long as their believers liveth. After that, the current ideas – which cannot be said to be better, either - simply take over. This is hardly a case of not being able to teach old dogs new tricks, mind you. It’s his belief, for chrissakes. Why should we hate the man for his beliefs? And what does the broadsheet which published it have anything to do with the whole thing? Newspapers are simply venues for exchange of ideas (don’t shoot the messenger, ‘ika nga).

Let it be told, however, that despite what Justice Cruz’s beliefs are, his article has taught us lessons. That is, to look at issues in the proper perspective which is to discuss these, not on a personal level, but on a level that allows everyone to have a say on things and NOT feel rejected or hated.

While it is virtually impossible to detach oneself from the issue especially if you are concerned, must there be a need to lambast each other over each other’s beliefs? If Cruz believed that the pink community has its faults (after all, he said he doesn’t frown on all its members), so does the “straight” community.

The “straight” community has, many times over, made a linchpin of the pinks. This is pretty obvious in the way they have been portrayed on television (Diego of Bubble Gang is currently the best example), in the movies, and on advertisements. But the straights cannot be completely faulted for this either because the pinks –until now – are almost always never united on anything in the first place. Every year, the rainbow parades are held several times in several locations instead of just one grand Mardi Gras like those in Sydney or LA. This is because the local LGBT organizations do not agree on logistics and funding. While the rest of the world celebrates Pride Month in June, we find other local organizations celebrating it in August. And hear me out here (and don’t heckle me, please), if it REALLY is important to have these so-called gay rights recognized, why isn’t there a concerted effort, from the parlorista up to those who are on the level of privilege, to bring these issues to the right venues to be heard and discussed?

On a personal note, I must admit I find myself at always at odds with a very active member whenever we discuss the gay movement in the Philippines. Our constant misunderstandings have strained our friendship many times. I would like to see this now as a reflection of what is currently happening in the blogsphere. Because no side would want to budge, a major clash is inevitable. My friend has branded my ideas as being “high hat…which won’t contribute to the movement”, while I have accused him of being “insistent that the rest of society see things his way”.

And who are the losers in this word war? The pink community itself.

It’s not anymore about what the pundits think and/or feel (you’ve all expressed yourselves well enough), but what the ENTIRE community – both gay and straight - feels about it. I wish I had the opportunity to ask every gay person I know if they have read the article(s) at all. It would be interesting to know what their answers would have been, if they really care at all. Life is hard enough to even bother, I suppose. Otherwise, I would have seen large groups stoning Justice Cruz’s house by now.

For once I thought, finally, a chance to publicly discuss the issues long raised by the community for public discourse! The opportunity could have been used to debate on issues such as “equal” rights, access to jobs, discrimination, access to healthcare (this one most especially) but what did we get?

Utterly useless mudslinging. Another opportunity wasted.

For as long as we insist on taking vital issues on a personal level, we can never advance into finding solutions to our problems because we are all too busy protecting ourselves, instead of advancing the interests of the aggrieved party.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Honestly, I am so pissed lately because I lent my digital camera last week to an officemate so she can document an activity for Toastmasters. Aside from that, there were to be some other activities at the office that she had to take photos of kaya she had to borrow it a little while longer. Fine, kako, as long as you do not bring it home. Ako pa, super bait, so okay lang.

Come Monday, I got my camera back. And that's when it all started. My headache, that is.

The thing about lending out your stuff is that you have to take major risks. First, you must never expect things to come back to you. People, even your closest friends, can have blackholes for memories (not quite a rare occurence, I discovered). Second, if you're lucky to actually get back your stuff, never expect it to be just as good as the time you lent it.

My digital camera has a 1G memory card. That's large enough for, say, 800 photos if the camera is set at 5R-sized photos. Last Monday, the card has about 60 photos. It also has 1 unreadable file. Whatever that file is, it was huge enough to occupy the rest of the 1G so it caused the card to jam. I cannot erase, take, or move photos at all! I suddenly remembered what happened to my phone a few months back when I had to have it reformatted because I used up my memory space taking photos of certain design ideas I needed for a project. OMG, nooooo! This can't be happening.

It turned, she brought the camera home and her devil of a brother tinkered with it (this was the same brother who I helped before when he was hospitalized). I saw some of his shots - some crappy golden statue, hair on the bathroom sink, and some dusty exhaust fan. Aba, at na-inspire ko pa yata! My theory is the unkown file was a video because when my friend caught her bro, he was shirtless (the moment I figure out how to play that, I will post it on YouTube and sell it as The Cavite Scandal!!!). Okay lang sana kung walang ibang importanteng photos sa card, i can just have it reformatted. I have about 30 family affair photos, 20 experiemental close-up studies of a Chicoreus ramosus conch, some really nice shots of curios, some experimental studies of shadows, etcetera etcetera.

What to do, what to do, what to do...

You know, mabait talaga akong tao (ha! ha! Why do I sound like I'm convincing myself?). In fact, I didn't get mad with my friend at all. Feeling ko kasi, may magagawa pa ako. Proactive stance, ika nga. Today, Saturday, I found out na wala na talaga akong magagawang remedio pa. Hindi naman masyadong nakakairita, 'di po ba? And i have a workshop that's opening on the 26th and I can't seem to do it - erase everything from the memory card because I actually can still view my photos from my camera except that they won't open when I hook the cam via USB to the PC. Parang malaking tease - now you see us, now you don't.

Parang nightmare all over again. Dati, I lost (or gave away, as the case may be) 3/4ths of my Isabel Allende collection to another friend. I called it the Waiting-for-Godot moment.

Looks like 2nd Edition has arrived.


Manila Bay (Manila, 2006)

A regular reader, a physician friend, who is in the US (particularly in Gothic Savannah, location of the 1997 film 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil'), has decided to skip reading my blog for now because I sounded like I had issues to settle first. In fact, I stopped blogging for a while and focused on shooting photos instead.

Lately, another friend, Joe, said that I hardly reveal anything about myself in my blog, that I "never indulge readers with the gory details" that will allow them to see how I really am. Just general ideas, a smattering of events every now and then, but that's it. I use to write a lot until when I found out my Mom has breast cancer, then lung cancer, then a whole life of chemotherapy ahead of her. Then the tone my entries changed from sunny to somber. I can't be blamed. In fact, i don't feel sorry for taking a break for a while.

My world, unfortunately, isn't as good as my photos (which aren't good enough to begin with). I take photos to amuse myself or to project a life of leisure, but that's hardly the case. I revel in the darkness of the city, in its secrets, in its unvisited and long-forgotten nooks and crannies (ayan, waxing poetic na!!!).

However, after a quick reflection, there are so many things to be thankful about. People - friends and family - are around us. Mom seems to be better, so much better in fact than last January. I cannot thank certain people enough for being there for us all these time.

I think it's time to go out for some sunshine again. Welcome me back, world!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Last Saturday turned out to be a day of horror for me and some friends. After all, it's not everyday that someone you know turns out to be HIV (+). The problem was, it took him a month before informing someone about it. The story is actually far more complicated than what I am allowed to tell you but suffice to say that his chances of leaving for the US are virtually nil. He just passed his CGFNS last year and, as (mis)fortune had it, he tested (+) during the medical screening! What to do next? I wouldn't know. I discussed the issue with some MD friends and we all were worried, not about the future, but how he will take it. You know - the denial-anger-depression cycle. I can only pray for strength, and if still possible, a longer life without pain.

Another thing, GP, who is currently battling the Big C, just lost her surgeon to the same illness. Let's just look forward to the wedding in 2007 (8?), GP, shall we? I'd help you with that, promise.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


It's been the longest week yet.

1.) I took my Civil Service Examinations last Sunday, July 30. I woke up really early so I won't get lost while looking for this obscure high school building. It turned out to be behind SM North's (or West, as most people know it) Annex building. I must admit it was embarrassing at first to let friends know because you only need to take the Exams when you didn't get any Latin honors in College (which, obviously, I didn't).

Pensive before the exam (kunwari hindi ako kinakabahan). Tapos hindi pa ako kasya sa upuan!

Second, it was honestly a difficult examination, which led me to think how the government bureacracy has found itself in the perpetual state of being overstaffed. My humble opinion on the matter is, and I know I am correct, most government workers are there because they've been hired by the current executives to bridge the gap in manpower, because they are relatives or friends, or both. Hopefully, when an official leaves the service, all the rest of his coterie goes with him.

At any rate, the CSE is a 170-item affair that you need to finish in 3 hours. 40 items are Math. I am saying this because I totally abhor anything that has to do with the subject. My dearest mother made me take Biology because it only had 3 Math subjects (Algebra, Trigonometry, and Statistics). Funny enough, when i was in medical school, we had to compute dosages, etc. In the CSE, I was happy to figure out most of the number sequencing items. The fractions and the algebra were, well, left to chance. It's been too long to remember anything.

What does this tell me? I don't have an analytical mind? It must be my current job (yeah, when all else fails, blame the process).

My salary loan from BDO was approved a week ago but the Admin assistant took her sweet time before informing me about it yesterday just when the HR Office was wondering why I wasn't claiming the cheque downstairs. It was 20K short of what I applied for but it's okay. The monthly automatic deduction was very affordable. Now I can start settling the mortgage on the CDO house, thank goodness.

3.) After many exasperating hours of slow internet connection, I was finally able to upload everything (photos) in my Manila blog. I will give it a rest for the meantime since readers are already complaining of how slow it has become due to the many photos uploaded.

4.) The Club Week in our office (yes, we do have that as part of our Work-Life Balance) finally ended with the Fun Debate 2 days before last weekend. I also learned that hosting is - and never will be - my cup of tea. I just hate speaking in front of a huge crowd (not the case in smaller group meetings). Maybe I should take a cue from the debate winners and join Toastmasters.

What else happened this week? Not much else. I just feel so exhausted, that's all.

No laughing on company hours. Looks like you just bought yourself a shift scrubbing the latrines. – Graveyard Shift (1990), Stephen King

What better way to spend an evening
than keeping awake
when everyone else is on their way to Neverland?

Here is a shrouded consciousness
by vintage videos of Warwick
and the Beatles on Youtube

Drowning in reports
of suicidal ideation and STDs by faceless people
from across the sea
whose lives make for interesting read
between sips of stale coffee and biscuits.

Is it about enjoying the solitude unquestioningly
or is this simply to avoid the judgment of people
whom you might end up working with during the day?

Dylan Yap Gozum
July 5, 2006

Sarimanok Dreams

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Detail: As seen on a truck sign along EDSA (taken with a Nokia 3230)





“But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.” (William Butler Yeats, Irish poet, dramatist, Nobel laureate)

During the rare chances that I walk by the office of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in Intramuros, i always get jarred by the sight of so many kids in this part of the muralla (city walls). An entire community has been established here, with houses threatening to take over even the PBSP's parking lot if not only for its high walls (there are some houses on top of the walls, by the way). The kids playing (see below) are just outside the building, and the family asleep on the floor are, well, right on PBSP's doorway. Also, a few meters from here is the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). On any normal day, the front of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is just as crowded.

I can't resist writing and posting photos, B and SB, but I feel I must. Pasensya na po. Sad lang kasi masyado. Come to think of it, Filipinos were not allowed to live in this exclusive enclave before. Hmmm...

I hope to see a better future for these children, and more funds for those who help them get a future.